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  1. Default Advice:) California to Michigan 3 Days

    Hi All!

    So I already made the drive once out here,but am getting ready to move back home and would like some advice.

    For being 20 and doing it on my own (with my puppy) in only 3 days without any major issues I think I did pretty good. Im going from Twentynine Palms California to just north of Salt Lake City the first day, then to Aurora, NE for the second night, then making it home to Howell, Mi the 3rd day/night.

    I'm just going to stop and stay the night at the same places I did on the way out here, but am just looking for some advice on how to make the drive less...stressful and lame. Also if anyone has any tips for having the puppy (Ok...shes 2. But She is a pomeranian so she is little) with me feel free to share.

    So any advice on the
    *Good places to stop for food on the way. Or if I should just stick to fast food (aka Subway:)
    *If its really ok to have the A/C on until I get out of the desert. I tried to keep it off on the way out here, but the dog and I became way too hot and I gave in but I didn't have any problems with using it. Even though I was warned not to use it too much?
    *Any good rest stops with dog runs?

    And just anything really. I'm super stressed about the whole thing and am just hoping I get everything packed into my car better than last time.

    So have at it, and thank you in advance! :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default a few thoughts

    How old is your car/what shape is it in?

    You're going to put 2,000 miles on over three days, you want to make sure everything is in working order. Check your fluids, make sure your tires are in good shape.

    Newer cars shouldn't have an issue running the A/C all the time, what vintage are you driving?

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CalOldBlue View Post
    How old is your car/what shape is it in?

    You're going to put 2,000 miles on over three days, you want to make sure everything is in working order. Check your fluids, make sure your tires are in good shape.

    Newer cars shouldn't have an issue running the A/C all the time, what vintage are you driving?
    Its a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT. Its in pretty good condition, it didn't do anything "weird" on the way out here and has always been a pretty good car. I do plan on getting new tires (the one problem I did have on the way out here was while stopped at a gas station someone came up to me and said my tire looked like it was running on the cords. It was in the middle of nowhere and I didn't have money to replace them right then, so I kept going and didn't have a problem. But I knew they were getting bad so they are being replaced before I leave) and a oil change before I leave.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a reason for your stress

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think one of the reasons you'd be stressed on a trip like this is that you are driving far more miles per day than we'd ever recommend, especially since you are traveling solo. 800+ miles a day in a car, especially when traveling with a dog where you should be stopping more often, is hard work, its stressful, and it pushes your body to its physical limitations. At 20 years old, you might have a little more energy to recover after such drives, you're also more likely to be ignoring the signs that you really should stop - and if your first trip was "stressful and lame," I'm sure the exhaustion was inevitably part of that. Remember, professional drivers are limited by law in how many hours they can spend behind the wheel because of safety, and their limits are quite a bit less (roughly 600 miles a day) than what you are trying to do.

    To reduce stress on your next trip I'd recommend the following.

    1 - have your car checked by a mechanic before you leave. They should be able to tell you what things could be a problem while on the road so you can have them fixed before hand. Its not full-proof as sometimes things just happen, but it should reduce the stress of having someone come up to you while on the road and telling you that your car has problems. If your car is in good shape, there is no reason you can't have the AC on for every minute that the car is running.

    2- take an extra day. If you aren't spending 15 hours a day in a car just trying to run to your next motel, you're going to be able to stop and see some of the things that you'd be flying by. You're also going to be relieving a whole lot of physical stress on your body and your puppy too. We recommend stopping every 2-3 hours to get out and walk anyway, and its never hard to find a park of some sort to take one of these breaks.

    3- take a different route. I always recommend going a different way coming and going, just so you are seeing different things out the window. Either cutting down through Denver to I-70 or going to St. Louis and OK City to I-40 would be about the same number of miles.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    For what it's worth, here's my advice.

    Take 4 days. Take Amboy Rd north out of 29 Palms to Amboy, then old 66 to I-40. Take I-40/I-44/I-70/I-69/I-96. Plan overnight stops near the following:

    Gallup NM
    Weatherford OK
    St Louis MO

    Recommended major city bypasses:

    OKC - Kilpatrick Tpke
    Tulsa - Straight through on I-44
    STL - I-270 South/I-255
    Indy - I-465 South/East

    The only toll roads along this route are in OK.

    This is about 2250 miles. Making it a 4 day drive should have you on the road for less than 12 hours a day including fuel, lunch, potty, and stretch stops. Believe me, the extra day will lower your stress level a LOT, as will use of the A/C with the windows up.

    Food: Stay in hotels with a free breakfast, even the basic "continental" breakfast is better than nothing. Subway is as good as any for lunch, it's probably healthier than just about any other chain fast food. For dinner, play it by ear, recommendations at hotel desks can help. Remember that it's not safe leaving the dog in the car for longer than it would take to grab fast food - so dinner after hotel checkin makes sense, you can leave the dog in the hotel room when you go get dinner (and bring her back a treat too). This is also a good reason to add the extra day, you will be checked in before restaurants start closing late in the evening. Another option is bring a cooler for lunch food out of a deli or grocery store - and eat it in a rest area when you are out stretching anyway.

  6. #6


    Before I retired from trucking one of my favorite restaurants to stop at was in Grand Island Neb, I 80 exit 312, north side of the interstate, Granma Max's Restaurant at Bosselman's Travel Plaza. Clean, good food, friendly people, moderate prices, nuff said.

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